Calif. governor again rejects fine hikes

Gov. Jerry Brown of California vetoer of distracted driving billsGov. Jerry Brown has again vetoed a plan to increase California’s distracted driving penalties. Looks like the plan never had a chance with the governor:

“I have found even a $50 ticket unpleasant enough,” Brown, left, said in his veto message of Sept. 28.

Brown called current California fines “a powerful deterrent,” adding: “I severely doubt that it will further reduce violations.”

Senate Bill 1310 sponsor Sen. Joe Simitian also was the author of the 2011 plan to double electronic distracted driving fines. That bill, too, was vetoed by Brown as a burden on “people of ordinary means.”

Legislative reports show the state Senate had “consideration of the governor’s veto pending” as of Sept. 28.

The 2012 plan would have increased distracted driving fines by $10. Simitian also sought a point against the licenses of repeat offenders.

Brown took a slap at distracted driving nanny-ism: “Upping the fines may satisfy the punitive instincts of some, but I severely doubt that it will further reduce violations,” Brown said.

Last summer, Brown did approve a guarantee that Californians will be allowed to use hands-free technology to text message while driving. The commuter-friendly plan was billed as “the freedom to communicate act.”

Seeking “any room for compromise,” Simitian lowered the fine increases called for in the 2012 distracted driving bill to $10. The state senator was the author of the state’s texting & handheld cell phone bans.

Electronic distracted driving fines under the vetoed Senate Bill 1310 would have been $30 (first offense) then $60. In the real world, that translated to as much as $251 (depending on county) or $372 out of pocket.


  1. Al Cinamon says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. States do not want to discourage distracted driving because distracted driving leads to crashes and crashes create money for the State.

    The governor says a $30 fine would be a burden on “people of ordinary means.” So why is the fine for parking in a handicap space $325? Isn’t that a tremendous burden?

    I guess protecting those who need to park is more important than protecting those who need to drive. Shame on him!

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